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Hello, hello, is there anyone listening to our problems?

31 Aug 2017

TELCOS and car salesmen are becoming harder to separate in their losing battles for popularity.

This comes as no surprise when you look at what residents of Bunnaloo have had to deal with in the past month.

Having a new mobile phone tower installed has done anything but keep them connected.

Residents such as Natalie Durrant are understandably not impressed with how long it’s taking for the service to actually work.

“I’m disappointed with what we’ve been given, especially after lobbying for a new tower to be installed for several years now,” Natalie said.

“This has not worked for the region at all and it is absolutely useless really as it’s made the situation worse rather than better.”

The stalled progress of getting the tower fully operational has left residents such as Natalie feeling like they have been failed - and forgotten - by Telstra.

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Residents attempt to blockade Telstra tower

31 Aug 2017

A PETITION signed by 18 people in Ettrick, which has just 14 houses, shows how strongly residents feel about the erection of a mobile phone tower on a hill in the village.

Seven residents attempted to blockade Service Stream contractors as they began work on Telstra's 44m-high tower last week.

It is too close to the village,” resident Jhabel Downie said.

Terry and Lyn Jordan live next door to the site of the tower.

Eleven years ago they came from Canberra to Ettrick because they loved the view of softly-sweeping hills.

On their property they breed greyhounds and Ms Jordan said they would be walking within metres of the tower 10 times a day because it was on the boundary of where they exercise their dogs.

"Why weren't we consulted?” Mr Jordan said.

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Optus mobile network expansion seeks feedback from bush

29 Aug 2017

COVERAGE is king in the bush says Optus head of network planning Vin Mullins and he is hoping to enlist the support of local communities to deliver it.

In June, Optus committed to invest $1 billion to boost coverage in regional Australia during the next 12 months, including 500 new mobile towers.

Now it wants community feedback to help determine tower locations and business partnerships to co-fund construction.

Mr Mullins said there are many locations outside the country which fall outside the criteria to win funding from the federal government’s mobile blackspot program which could nevertheless enjoy better connectivity with a new tower.

In a recent win for mobile coverage near Orange, NSW Optus, Newcrest’s Cadia mine and windfarmer Infigen Energy teamed up with local government to co-fund new tower.

“This is this first time we have done this model of co-funding with private enterprise,” Mr Mullins said.

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It’s Elleker on the phone

26 Aug 2017

ELLEKER residents are now able to use their mobile phones after a new local phone tower was switched on last Friday.

Elleker store’s acting manager, Kylie Carter, said the service was working well.

“I live locally myself, so whereas before I couldn’t get phone service in the house, I can now walk around the house and sit out the back and I’m getting phone coverage,” she said.

Ms Carter said as a volunteer firefighter she was now receiving instant updates on fire conditions.

“They are coming through quite promptly now on the mobile,” she said.

“We just need better internet access now.”

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Council on path to digital future

26 Aug 2017

CAMPASPE Shire Council has endorsed a strategic statement and digital community roadmap – two key documents supporting local digital advancement within the community.

Mayor Adrian Weston said council has been extensively involved in promoting improved telecommunications infrastructure and digital progression for a number of years.

“A major emphasis from council has been to advocate for the rollout of high speed broadband through the National Broadband Network (NBN) and seek increased government investment in mobile black spot areas,” Cr Weston said.

A primary focus for council is to identify opportunities to increase the local communities’ digital capabilities. This is reflected through the development of the roadmap.

“It is in many ways a consolidation and refinement of previous work undertaken by council, which has included additional internal engagement with service managers,” Cr Weston said.

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Maintenance works to disrupt mobile services at Marnoo and Wallaloo East

26 Aug 2017

Residents in the Marnoo and Wallaloo East areas may be expected to face interruptions to their mobile services for five full days between Monday, August 28 and Friday, September 1.

Telstra Area General Manager Steve Tinker said maintenance works were planned in the area. 

“We are undertaking planned maintenance to infrastructure in the Marnoo and Wallaloo East areas to optimise and improve local coverage,” he said.

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Simplicity, mobile data key to Vodafone’s NBN offerings

24 Aug 2017

Vodafone is gearing up for the “imminent” launch of an internal National Broadband Network pilot ahead of a broader rollout of NBN services.

“We’re in the final stages of testing our network,” the telco’s general manager of broadband, Matthew Lobb, told Computerworld. “We’ll be staring with, initially, an internal pilot and then a friendly customer external pilot in the coming weeks and we will then move to a market launch.”

As part of a focus on delivering a “great customer experience” Vodafone will launch services progressively: Initially it will offer fixed-line NBN services in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Geelong, Newcastle and Wollongong; services in other areas, including within the NBN’s fixed wireless and satellite footprint, will follow.

Vodafone in March began accepting expressions of interest in NBN services and it has used that process to understand the pain points of customers when it comes to broadband, Lobb said.

The company earlier this month revealed that the Vodafone Wi-Fi Hub for NBN customers would integrate 4G cellular capabilities to provide broadband services while customers wait for their NBN connections to be activated and during outages.

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Poor telecommunication services holding back state-of-the-art agriculture techniques

24 Aug 2017

Poor services for mobile technology beyond the towns and off the highways are holding back the nation's best farmers, according to advocates of precision agriculture practices.

Precision agriculture (PA) is often know as satellite farming and is based on measuring, impact assessment and responding to variations in key components of the agricultural process.

Farmers and researchers say telecommunications companies are missing the point when they say they provide coverage to 99 per cent of Australians.

Neil Postlethwaite, a long-time devotee of precision agriculture on his cropping enterprise in Western Victoria, said since he had been involved with precision agriculture in the early 1990s the advances had been nothing short of amazing.

"I can't imagine running my farm now without getting lots of help from all this technology.

"The two challenges I always face nowadays are staying connected and who owns all the farm data collected by the on-farm computers.

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Mobile phone base stations just 10 metres from homes in Connells Point and Gymea Bay

23 Aug 2017

A new concern for residents has arisen in the long-running war with telecommunication companies over the siting of mobile phone transmission installations.

The first mobile base station in the region to be placed on top of a power pole in a residential street, 10 metres away from homes, was installed in recent weeks at Connells Point.

A similar installation is proposed by Vodafone and Optus the same distance from houses in Ellesmere Road, Gymea Bay.

Sutherland Shire Council has thrown its full support behind residents objecting to the Gymea Bay installation.

Cr Kent Johns said it was the worst location he had ever seen for a mobile phone transmission installation.

Federal Treasurer and Cook MP Scott Morrison has written to federal Communications Minister Mitch Fifield in support of residents.

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Four firms join hands to build mobile tower in Cadia

22 Aug 2017

A new mobile tower is planned for the Cadia district in NSW with the funds to come from Optus, Newcrest Mining's Cadia Valley Operations, Infigen Energy and Huawei.

The area has no dedicated mobile tower and the construction is aimed at helping address network coverage.

A statement from Optus said potential locations for the tower were being investigated. It was expected to be live by the end of 2018.

A second tower is being built under the federal government's Mobile Black Spot Programme.

Optus Network Planning manager Vin Mullins said: "This community site is great news for the Cadia Valley, which will move from having intermittent coverage in some areas, to having a dedicated resource to provide residents and visitors with reliable and fast coverage for mobile calls and SMS as well as mobile data for internet browsing.

“The contribution and commitment by Newcrest Mining and all parties involved provide a clear demonstration of what can be achieved when community and enterprise work together.

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